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February’s loved things

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Looking back at the past month and things I’ve enjoyed, and such. Happy March. I think I need someone to be proud of me or I will probably combust. Twenty-one is inevitable and I have never felt so, so alone.

Web

Bangkok Art Book Fair

I am so so in love with the Bangkok Art Book Fair’s Co-op site, set in this most lovely serif + gradient pink that reminds me of my first ever fansite coded thirteen years ago.

Jin-Woo Choi

A historian who has designed a very spatial, networked blog borne out of desire to explore systematic training in archival has ended up crafting one of the most genuine, lovely means of curating a repository of academic discovery.

Reads

Design: The Invention of Desire - Sara Pena

Design: The Invention of Desire, by Jessica Helfand

“This is what it means to be alive—to witness visually and respond
viscerally to something…”

And of course, Helfand very next says that the eyes are only the first line of defense. Everything afterwards demands greater scrutiny. The ethical parameters, morals, and wider ramifications that we then put out into the world after the pleasure of seeing. Helfand’s design theories reflect both what the younger designer in me and the one decades from now would love to hear. This book also propelled me to think deeper about design education and its accessibility, both in the world-class education I’m receiving as a Yale student (who still is a little unsatisfied by the undergraduate technology & art programs) and the education I hope to carve out for thousands at home with Developh. She writes: “design will not matter as long as design education is stalled in the nineteenth-century academic deep-freeze model of the atelier.” At the same time, my longtime approach to technology as an act in need of “incubation”, or one that can be realized with funding and the right amount of mentorship without the space and avenue for thought is truly a farce. How can a field so impassioned be so easily reductive? Helfand addresses these many thoughts, validating these fears and navigating everything from design and play to blaming a mass shooting (where she describes the college student as …”deeply troubled”) on the existence of social media before making a point towards variables vs constants in the context of type and grids. (Later on she shits on the rainbow Facebook profiles that people swap to in support of gay marriage, and a bit on video game addiction and self-aggrandizement as lossy markers of passion.) While there are some questionable comparisons, this was a lovely one to read with the Ethical Design Club at Developh.

(Also see my 2021 Reading List)

Film

Film Review: All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001) by Shunji Iwai

All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001) by Shunji Iwai

A Bjork-like, ethereal pop ideal looms in the background of a dark, twisted adolescence, mostly on bullying. I’ve replayed this movie so many times that it started to lose meaning, and last month I rewatched it, as if for the first time my feelings flushed and I could barely process it. I can’t ever look back towards my teen years without the glaring trauma waiting to be decompressed, forgiven, or buried. I wonder if this is the same for all of us.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion | Madoka magica, Puella magi madoka  magica, Magi

Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part III: Rebellion

Three years since Manila. Before the movie’s climax, Homura holds the false Madoka, trapped in her labyrinth tightly. Is it fair for a teenage girl to give her life for the universe and bear the sins of us all? Is it worth destroying the universe for her happiness, no matter how cursory it may be?

Music

D>E>A>T>H>M>E>T>A>L by Panchiko

I’m so late, but there’s something incredibly magical about a band discovered through a rotten tape of their 2000 album singing about a Studio Ghibli movie seen at 7, then never again until your twenties. When I was introduced to Panchiko by their background, how could I not feel it all through that lens of re-discovery? How many times have I had to piece together blurred memories of Ghibli films, now having them at the tip of my tongue but choosing to bury them – afraid of what I will recall…

(also the Panchiko discord is filled with like 14-year-olds and yeah i’m definitely late and i’m not sure if i’m allowed to feel this hit by an album, but fuck it, it really was so ahead of its time)

Maple by Wyatt Smith

The Pull by The Microphones

I saw your earthling body wrapped in wool… also, this in stereo is otherworldly – then the drums come in. See:

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